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Tavern at the End of the World

Nice surprises in a warm, pubby package
By MC SLIM JB  |  November 18, 2009


They say there's no accounting for taste, though most folks will agree that if your tastes and mine are similar, then we both have good taste. This occurred to me as I scanned the jukebox at Charlestown's Tavern at the End of the World, a neighborhood bar/restaurant just outside Sullivan Square. I thought, "Classic punk, garage, British Invasion, soul: stuff I like. This owner has good taste." Then I noticed the mostly small-producer beer selection of a dozen drafts plus a Belgian-heavy 15 imports and nearly 30 domestics in bottles: eclectic and abstruse enough to satisfy a real beer geek. There's a comfy 12-seat bar with a TV, 14 seats at tables, and another 30 seats in a back room that features live entertainment (comedy, DJs, bands) a few nights per week and big-screen sports on weekend afternoons.

That back room also houses an open kitchen that turns out an equally eclectic, modestly priced menu drawing mostly from the British Isles and American bar-fare standards. Pizza is thin-crust, or rather two very thin crusts rolled together and given a char on the grill; the margherita ($8) actually tastes of fresh basil. Tuscan wings ($7) are an off-kilter idea: 10 deep-fried wings drizzled with fake-truffle oil and grated Parmesan — better to stick with the classic Buffalo style ($7). Toasties ($7–$9) are enormous sandwiches of excellent Iggy's bread grilled on a sandwich press, with options like a Cubano ($8) of roast pork, ham, cheese, and mustard. These come with excellent hand-cut fries. Burgers ($8–$10) are substantial, tasty, and served on good rolls.

Given the owner's Belfast roots, I expected shepherd's pie ($10) of beef and lamb to be good, and was not disappointed. The batter-fried cod in a fish and chips platter ($10), with more of those fine fries, was likewise very fine. What I didn't see coming were the excellent curries ($9–$11) of vegetables, chicken, or fish; it turns out the three chefs are from Nepal, which makes their beef kabobs ($10) and curry fries ($4) also a cut above. While the food here is more often satisfying than amazing, it's part of a whole package — very friendly staff, laid-back and unpretentious atmosphere, terrific beer, good music, nice prices — that comes as a welcome surprise in an industrial-looking neighborhood without many cozy alternatives. If your taste runs to places like Tavern at the End of the World, then I guess you have good taste, too.

Tavern at the End of the World, located at 108 Cambridge Street, in Charlestown, is open daily, 11 am–2 am. Call 617.241.4999.

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